Although the Solyndra bankruptcy caused many to doubt the viability of US solar photovoltaic (PV) manufacturing, some companies have not missed a beat in the race to develop a cheaper more efficient model that will prove profitable.
Last week, Silicon Valley-based thin film PV solar manufacturing company MiaSole announced it had successfully produced a copper indium gallium selenide (CIGS) model that was 13% more efficient than panels released just this year.
“Finding the sweet spot between performance and cost will be the critical factor in driving widespread adoption,” said MiaSole VP of Marketing Robert DeLine. MiaSole succeeded in driving down costs by using CIGS technology rather than the traditional silicon-based solar cells.
In a recent interview with Breaking Energy, DeLine emphasized that in solar manufacturing, “cost is king.”
“If you don’t have a path to a cost structure that allows you some breathing space you’re going to have some trouble,” he said. Read the full interview here.
MiaSole, which has shipped over 55 MW of solar supplies to date, has been working aggressively to lower manufacturing prices by using CIGS technology rather than the more expensive silicon-based cells. Researcher Martin Green cited MiaSole’s unique process and its potential in the recently published annual paper, ‘Progress in Photovoltaics.’
Despite MiaSole’s success, renewable energy companies may be facing various challenges in the coming years as financing becomes more difficult to come by and government tax credits expire. Read more: After Solyndra: Renewable Energy Financing 3.0.